FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A sweeping tax bill that will make major changes to corporate tax rates and open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development cleared its final hurdles today and will become law.
The bill, which will take effect in less than two weeks, extends temporary tax breaks for all individual tax brackets; but its chief beneficiary is corporations, who will enjoy a permanent tax cut, with the top rate falling from 35% under current law to 21% once the bill is in effect.
Republican sponsors of the bill say the corporate tax break will encourage companies to bring operations back to the US from overseas and hire more workers.
Critics of the bill say that's unrealistic - they say the cut in corporate taxes will just lead to a higher deficit.
But the biggest focus of the bill for Alaska's congressional delegation was a provision to open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.
In a press conference after the bill's passage, President Donald Trump singled out Alaska's members of Congress for credit.
President Donald J. Trump>>"I want to ask Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to come up from Alaska, they've been really working, and if Don Young is here, and I think he's around here."
Sen. Lisa Murkowski; (R) Alaska>>"For us in Alaska, we've had some pretty dark days recently. But with passage of this tax bill - with passage finally, almost 40 years later, to allow us to open up the 1002 Area, this is a bright day for Alaska. This is a bright day for America."